Based on the overwhelming response to the sold-out World and American premieres of Too Much Johnson, the George Eastman House hosted a one-night-only screening of the movie in New York City. It was shown last Monday at the Directors Guild of America Theater.
Thought to be destroyed in a fire, the George Eastman House, along with the National Film Preservation Foundation (NFPF), Cineteca del Friuli, and Cinemazero, announced in August, recovery of Mercury Theatre’s long-lost Too Much Johnson, directed by Orson Welles in 1938. The piece was produced the same year Welles directed The War of the Worlds radio broadcast. The nitrate work print of the film – left unfinished by the Mercury Theatre and never shown in public – was found in a warehouse by a staff member of Cinemazero, an art house in Pordenone, Italy. It was transferred to the George Eastman House in order to be preserved with a grant from NFPF.
Too Much Johnson was originally intended to be used in conjunction with a stage adaptation of an 1894 play by William Gillette. The Mercury Theatre planned to show the three short films as prologues to each act of the play. The three-part comedy was meant to be presented with the accompaniment of music and live sound effects, but was never finished. Joseph Cotten was cast in the lead role, with supporting roles going to other Mercury Theatre actors, including Arlene Francis, Mary Wickes, Orson Welles, and his wife Virginia Nicholson. The play ultimately opened without the visual aid on August 16th, 1938. The cinematic work provides a unique insight to the immense talent Welles had as a filmmaker.
Too Much Johnson had a world premiere on October 9th, at Le Giornate del Cinema Muto in Pordenone, Italy; and its North American premiere on October 16th at the Dryden Theatre in the George Eastman House.
We, in Hollywood, are looking forward to a West Coast premiere…
* * * *
Forgotten Hollywood Forgotten History and Son of Forgotten Hollywood Forgotten History shares America's story through the eyes of actors from Hollywood's Golden Age.
These poignant tales are available on Amazon... a thoughtful 2013 gift for family or friend. Forgotten Hollywood Forgotten History is also an eBook on Kindle, Nook, Sony eReader, and Apple...
MAKE TODAY THE DAY YOU PICK UP A COPY.... If you love TCM and the History Channel... The perfect gift for a family member or friend!
Causes Manny Pacheco Supports